The director won an Oscar for best director and scared audiences with best picture victor The Silence of the Lambs, which unleashed Anthony Hopkins' cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal on pop culture in 1991.
IndieWire reports that director Jonathan Demme has passed away at the age of 73 due to esophageal cancer and complications from heart disease.
Last year, Demme released his latest concert film, "Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids". Demme's next film, 1993's "Philadelphia", gave Tom Hanks his first Oscar and helped catapult AIDS/HIV into the national spotlight.
"There will be a private family funeral".
The Silence of the Lambs, the second film to feature serial killer Hannibal Lecter, is one of only three films to win the so-called "big five" Oscars.
In his incredibly eclectic career, which began in the early-1970s while learning from B-movie mogul Roger Corman, Demme worked in television (episodes of Columbo, Enlightened, and The Killing), documentaries, and feature-length films. The director also had an art-house darling with 2008's Rachel Getting Married, which garnered an Academy Award nomination for star Anne Hathaway.
Born in 1944, Demme's other features included Philadelphia, Something Wild and the Talking Heads documentary Stop Making Sense. It's an nearly perfectly directed film, succeeding on the highest level as a psychological character study, a deeply disturbing mood piece - and one of the damn scariest movies you'll ever see. He also created three films with rocker Neil Young. In 2015, he directed comedy "Ricky and the Flash", starring actress Meryl Streep.